Senator Binta Masi Garba does not incite approbation whenever she is introduced as the only female senator from the 19 states that make up northern Nigeria. “Having only one woman from 57 elected legislators in an entire region is nothing to be applauded. It is not a thing of pride,” she said.
Born in the norther city of Kaduna, 51-year-old Garba has served three terms in the House of Representatives before she was elected into the Senate in 2015 to represent Adamawa North. She also made history as the first female chairperson of the state chapter of a registered mainstream political party when she emerged the chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Adamawa state.
But her story is not the story of many Nigerian women, competent in strength and character, who have aspired to power by contesting elections since the advent of the Fourth Republic. Nigerian women, assumed to be about half of the electorate with right to vote and hold public office, are under-represented as members of the National Assembly.
“Since the election of democracy in 1999, the Senate has been dominated by males,”, a report on Men and women in Nigeria credited to the National Bureau of Statistic stated. In 1999, there were only three women out of the 109 members of the Senate. In 2007, the number increased to eight. However, there was a decrease from eight women members in 2007 to seven in 2011.
The current dispensation, which ushered in President Muhammadu Buhari, has only seven…